Feedback on the Happiness Formula (Part Three)

11. What do you like the most about the tool?

  • A. I like having all the categories laid out so succinctly, helping me to focus on what is really important, and whether I am doing those things, and what I need to change. I think you’ve done a great job of summarizing the factors that contribute to happiness.
  • B. The ability to analyze so many different components of happiness at once.
  • C. It helps you to think about what you might need to change or improve in your life to possibly become happier.
  • D. Comprehensive and easy to use
  • E. Seeing the change from one day to the next.
  • F. How concise it is. It didn’t overwhelm me with the amount of work I needed to do and amount of data I needed to provide. I liked the graphs though I would like to see them more usable

12. What do you like the least about the tool?

  • A. Nothing specific. You have already said that things will be automated online, which will make it more user-friendly. In a general sense, I’m not entirely comfortable with the idea of a “formula for happiness”. However, having used the tool, even if I don’t pay too much attention to the final happiness ratio value, I did find it useful.
  • B. The limited ability to see graphically what components of happiness are most important at a given time
  • C. It is simply an assessment tool – it is hard to tell what to really do with the information.
  • D. 20 questions is a lot
  • E. That the outcomes on the graphs overlapped too much. Also, I’m not sure why there are 5 graphs. Are they categorized in some way? It makes me think they are and so wonder why they’re only named Graph 1, Graph 2, etc.
  • F. Graphs, not having ability to add may be one or two custom categories, not having ability to prioritize categories

13. What do you think is missing but would be a good addition to this tool?

  • A. I’d like to see the online version. I think it needs to seem more “fun” to make people want to use it. The average person does not like spreadsheets, formulae, and graphs, so it will be better if some of that is behind the scenes. At the end, once the results are tallied, I’d like to see percentages for each category, and a summary (in words, not just in numbers/graphs) of what categories scored high and suggestions for what categories need to be worked on.
  • B. More graphing options as I mentioned. Another idea might be to show a pie chart with the relative contributions of different categories to one’s overall happiness, and a table ranking the different categories.
  • C. Recommended reading?
  • D. Nothing
  • E. Sorry, I don’t have any feedback for you on this one
  • F. Ability to add one or two custom categories, ability to prioritize categories and then using that as a weightage in calculations

14. How many times did you use this tool during the week?

  • A. Two. I don’t think it should be used daily. I would get bored, and my answers wouldn’t likely change that much over that period of time, then I would likely stop using it. I think weekly at the most, or preferably bi-weekly, would work well for me.
  • B. 3
  • C. 4 times
  • D. 2X
  • E. Twice, b/c I had to! 😉 In seeing the graphs from one day to the next I would probably use it once a week.
  • F. Twice during the evaluation period but I plan to use it on a weekly basis for next few weeks

15. Do you have any other comments or suggestions?

  • A. Great job! If you want anyone to look over the online version (for user-friendliness, copy-editing, etc.), I’d be happy to do so.
  • B. Looking forward to seeing how this turns out on the website!
  • C. It’s an interesting project!
  • D. I would try to reduce the number of questions if possible, maybe after collecting some initial data to see which ones are most important to most people
  • E. I’m wondering if a depressed person might not want to use this tool b/c they already know they’re not happy and therefore might feel more depressed seeing the low score they already expect.
  • F. Great idea. I would like to see it evolve and I would love to be included in further testing on it.
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Feedback on the Happiness Formula (Part Two)

6. Did the exercise make you appreciate what you have in life and not focus on what you don’t?

  • A. Yes, to some extent. It helped me to appreciate what I have, and it helped me to not focus on little things that don’t matter. However, it did focus my attention on things I don’t have that do matter. That doesn’t necessarily make me feel good in the short term (i.e. doesn’t make me happy now), but it is useful and gives me some goals. I like having targeted goals (e.g. I need to spend more time on my hobbies) rather than a general sense of wanting things to be different, but not being sure what I need to do.
  • B. It did make me appreciate what I have in life, but instead of making me not focus on problem areas it actually motivated me to work harder to improve them.
  • C. No
  • D. Yes, it helped a bit
  • E. No
  • F. Yes it did – I am going do this exercise consistently going forward – may be once a week – I think this provides so much clarity and focus on positives in my life and improvement areas for me personally

7. How long did it take you on average to answer the questions in sections Satisfaction and Importance?

  • A. I’m not sure; probably around 10 minutes total the first time, with about 70% of that on the Satisfaction, and the rest on the Importance. Not more than 5 minutes total the next time, once I was familiar with the descriptions.
  • B. About 5-10 minutes
  • C. It took longer (a few minutes) to answer the questions in the “Satisfaction” section because I had to be honest with myself. The “Importance” section was quicker to answer.
  • D. A few seconds
  • E. 5 minutes or so
  • F. 5 minutes each

8. Did you want to see more graphs (ex. for importance)?

  • A. No, I didn’t find the graphs useful, although they would be more valuable for tracking changes in time once I had more data. They are potentially overcrowded though (too much data on one plot). One thing that might be useful is to have percentages for each category on the formula page, rather than numbers 4.5 etc.
  • B. It would be good to see a graph of the importance weighted to each category over time. Also, it would be good to see a graph showing the average rating and importance over time for all the categories.
  • C. Not necessarily. But a graph plotting importance against satisfaction for a particular day or time period might be useful.
  • D. No, no need
  • E. No, but I might’ve liked to see the graphs separately since they overlapped too much for me.
  • F. Yes but it would be ideal to have capability that will allow me to chose what category I want to graph – the multiple categories on each graph are confusing and I wasn’t sure if they were grouped together for some specific reason – ability to mix and match categories on a graph (customize) will be useful as well

9. Do you think that rating scale for satisfaction (1-10) is adequate?

  • A. Yes
  • B. Yes, most people are familiar with rating things on a scale of 1-10 so this was intuitive
  • C. Yes
  • D. Yes
  • E. Yes
  • F. Yes

10. Do you think that rating scale for importance (0-5) is adequate?

  • A. No. As noted above, I didn’t use the low end of the scale at all, and would have liked more options at the higher end of the scale.
  • B. I actually think it could be good to have a wider scale, like 1-10 or even 1-20. With a scale of 0-5, you have less ability to express large differences in how important you think different components of happiness are.
  • C. Yes
  • D. Yes
  • E. Yes, having only 5 rankings made it easy to choose.
  • F. Yes

Feedback on the Happiness Formula (Part One)

Last month I asked for feedback on the first version of the happiness formula. About twenty people received the file for testing, and ten people provided their feedback. Below you can find the most comprehensive feedback from six people (three females, three males). Each letter corresponds to a certain person in the order his/her feedback was documented, so you can see how each person responded to every question. Here are first 5 question out of 15 (see future posts for the rest):

1. Did you feel that categories are all inclusive? (all sources of happiness)

  • A. Yes – great job!
  • B. I believe so – there is some overlap between categories
  • C. Yes
  • D. Yes
  • E. This seemed comprehensive to me
  • F. One thing I didn’t see is things I do for fun other than hobbies – watching sports, being on FB, occasional recreational activities such as parties etc. They all bring me joy and happiness – maybe you should add a category called ‘recreation’

2. Did you find categories easy to understand?

  • A. Yes
  • B. Yes
  • C. Yes
  • D. Yes, but I would tweak the language on some categories
  • E. Yes
  • F. Yes

3. Do you think that category descriptions match category titles?

  • A. Yes
  • B. In general yes
  • C. Yes
  • D. See above
  • E. Yes
  • F. All except one – high confidence level does not necessarily mean high self-esteem – that needs a little more exploration

4. Did you think that your happiness ratio is about right?

  • A. I’m not sure; it is hard to be objective because the value itself affected how I was feeling. Because my “happiness ratio” wasn’t higher, it made me feel as though I had “failed” in being happy, and my automatic response to that was to think that it was wrong. I felt like it should have been higher because I wanted it to be higher as an affirmation of “success”. Insofar as I can be objective about it, I think it is about right, or perhaps a little low. I think it would be more accurate if there was an extra category in the Importance section, something like “6 = extremely high”. I rated the importance of all factors as 4 or 5, so the tool wasn’t able to differentiate well between the categories in terms of which I thought were the most important
  • B. Yes, the numbers that I obtained fluctuated a bit but seemed fairly accurate to how I feel these days
  • C. Yes
  • D. Yes
  • E. Yes
  • F. Yes – and I was surprised to see how consistent it remained even though the rating changed between categories each time I did them – very revealing

5. Did the exercise make you re-evaluate your understanding of happiness?

  • A. I don’t think I re-evaluated my understanding, but it did bring my focus back to where it should be, which is equally valuable. Even just reading the questions, before I got the results, made me refocus away from all the things I think are missing in my life and focus back on what I already have, what I really need, and what is really most important. I like that the first two questions asked about basics and health; that was very “grounding”
  • B. It made me consider all the varying factors that contribute to happiness, and also be curious as to how other people rate those factors in relative importance to them
  • C. No
  • D. Yes, it makes you broaden your thinking about it
  • E. No, as it was a quick exercise and I didn’t think too much as I was doing it
  • F. I don’t know if it made me re-evaluate it but it certainly put it in perspective for me – just looking at different categories, it provided a lot of clarity for me as to what is important for me and if that’s where I am focusing on for improvements

Request For Feedback

Last month I created the prototype of the happiness formula in Excel and asked for feedback:

“Dear Earthian! 

No matter where you are now, whether you are happy or not so much, by testing this tool you are helping increase happiness in the world.

After you answer questions, you will see your results in several graphs. Remember, that things constantly change due to many factors. Come back to this tool anytime and repeat exercise. You results will change and you will learn more about yourself.

After you test this tool, your feedback will be taken into account and real-time online tool will be created. There will be other features, that are not in this version, but they will enable people to share ideas about increasing satisfaction with certain life categories. These ideas will be stored in the Ultimate Answer database available to all.

Thank you for participating in the Ultimate Answer Project and for being you!”

Blog Transition

Dear Friends,

I’m finally transitioning all the content of this blog to its domain http://theultimateanswer.org

Please, read new posts at new location! Last weekend I summarized all feedback on the happiness formula from independent testers and already scheduled its publishing. Check it out!

Have a happy version of reality!

Marina 🙂

The World Can Only Change From Within

This morning I read on-line what JLo said about her separation and I coudn’t agree more with her:

“Really the most important relationship that you have is with yourself. Life is really about change. And sometimes that can be scary. But the truth is, you have to do that. You have to push yourself so you can breakthrough your own boundaries and try new things and do new things.”

Later today I received a new post from Year of Kindness blog. Even though not totally appropriate for our semisphere weather-wise right now, this post is spot-on in terms of the topic and its main message:

“Lots of very simple things become far more complicated when it’s raining. Like getting to work via public transport without being completely saturated (epic fail). Or getting a decent nights sleep without having a leaky ceiling drip on your face (epic, epic fail). But there’s one thing that is surprisingly, much easier in bad weather: being kind. The last few days in Sydney have been ridiculously rainy, windy and cold. Everyone is reluctantly trudging along through it and there is a certain atmosphere of grumpiness and ready-for-summerness, which in a weird way actually brings everyone together.

Yesterday I offered to share my umbrella with someone who was caught in the rain without one. I discovered this is one of those very rare kindnesses that people generally accept with minimum wariness and maximum gratitude. And today, I decided to try my luck with a kindness that usually has very little success in Sydney – smiling at people as they walked past. But the funny thing is, today as we struggled with umbrellas turning inside out and buses sending waves of water splashing onto us, I found that strangers in the rain also laugh and smile together far more than those in the sunshine. Read into that what you will!

This week I also babysat for my lovely friends K and J and bought a coffee for a guy who looked like his eyes might actually pop out of his head at the very idea of it. Once he had recovered, he remarked that he would make sure he was at the coffee shop at the exact same time tomorrow. Nice try! I also did the following things I usually don’t make time for: went to a dance class, said yes to every dessert I was offered (and worked very hard not to feel any guilt about it!), did a yoga/meditation class and spent several hours reading a good book with no interruptions. I didn’t realise how long it had been since I had done many of these things – they seem so little but the happiness they create is pretty big!

And in one of those wonderful twists the universe likes to organise sometimes, this weekend I am invited to a Kindness Conference (who knew there was such a thing?) and the topic is A Time For Renewal: The World Can Only Change From Within. Yes, that’s right, a whole two-days of talks and techniques from professional (and international) kindness crusaders on how and why to be kinder to yourself. So I will definitely report back to you on that one.

I hope you’re all doing well with the kindness to self challenge. And if you’re caught in the rain this week too, remember you can always create your own sunshine just by smiling!”

Volunteer Survey Results Final Analysis

Speaking of volunteering and its results, last December I crafted olpcMAP survey and summarized its results in a presentation olpcMAP Survey Results. On Wednesday, Dec 29, I presented olpcMAP Survey Final Analysis, which interprets survey results and suggests major themes and underlying motives for volunteering.

I was glad to receive feedback and comments at the end of the presentation. Mark Battley agreed about people wanting to have a hobby that realizes their untapped talents. When you develop those talents, you become happier and frequently more successful, and he witnessed it. Ryan and Alexandra commented on tailoring projects for volunteers. We all agreed that  there should be opportunities for 2 hours a week, 2 weeks a year or even 2 years at a time, etc. Then volunteers decide which one is right for them.  Because the same person maybe interested in all three option at different times in his life. It is all about perpetual balance. We all want to find it. Some struggle between choosing a well paid job but no meaning or an low paid project that has a great social value. We are all constantly moving and adjusting our choices to finally find our perfect mix of life variables to reach our personal balance.  Another important comment was about helping people figure out what they are good at or where do they fit as volunteers… Main Take-aways:

1. Help people feel useful and appreciated

2. Design perfect conditions for volunteering

3. Don’t judge people, educate them on what opportunities are available and what   is  possible

4. Create happy social identity

5. Provide facilitation

Download full presentation olpcMAP Survey Final Analysis. Also see my favorite commencement speech ever by Steve Jobs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc

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